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Highland pensioner found with cannabis plants in his loft learns his court sentence

By Ali Morrison

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A man continued to insist at court that cannabis plants found in his loft in Inverness were for personal use.

Inverness Sheriff Court previously heard that officers on mobile patrol searched the property belonging to Terrence Small (65) in the city's Darris Road after they noticed a strong smell of cannabis in the area and began door-to-door inquires.

Officers went to his three-bedroomed bungalow on December 15 last year and they were invited in.

When they explained to Small they were carrying out inquiries regarding the smell in the area, he said he had 10 plants upstairs.

Police obtained a search warrant and found 71 plants in three separate areas of the loft, which was accessed by ladders.

Tests confirmed they were cannabis plants and the fiscal said the value of the entire cultivation, if allowed to mature, was £63,900.

Small (65) pleaded guilty to the cultivation of the drug.

Appearing for sentencing today his solicitor, Duncan Henderson, said Small maintained that the drug was for personal use.

"At a time when he thought the laws on use of cannabis were about to be relaxed he began growing cannabis," he said.

A music lover who played guitar and ran his own recording studio, the court was told Small had suffered from tinnitis since attending a concert in 2013, which caused him pain and sleeplessness.

The cannabis was used for pain relief he said.

Small also disputed the Crown's valuation of his plants.

He said that, at the time of the valuation, nine out of the 10 mature plants he had directed police to were dead.

"He believes the Crown valuation was wildly optimistic," Mr Henderson said.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank told Small – a first offender assessed as being at minimal risk of reoffending – it was still serious offence.

He ordered him to carry out 175 hours of unpaid work.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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